Taiwan is a destination for assisted reproductive technology (ART) throughout Asia — and also has the lowest birthrate in the world. Taiwan attracts individuals and couples from throughout Asia seeking services like egg freezing, which is legal in Taiwan regardless of marital status, unlike in several countries in Asia that only allow egg freezing for medical reasons or only accessible for married couples. Laws around the use of donor eggs are also more open in Taiwan compared with other parts of the region. At the same time, Taiwan’s birth rate has dropped as a result of similar trends elsewhere in Asia, such as later marriage and increasing cost of living. We talked with one of Taiwan’s top IVF clinics — and a Carrot partner — about the current state of ART in Taiwan and their predictions on how demand both from home and from abroad will change in the coming years.
How Carrot supports members in Taiwan:
- Working with partners like Taipei Fertility Center (TFC)
- Care navigation from Carrot based on deep local expertise
- Employer-provided financial support for costs beyond those covered by government subsidies as well as other services such as egg freezing
Tell us a little about TFC and the background (history) of the center
Taipei Fertility Center (TFC) was founded in 2020 by Tzeng Chii-Ruey, MD, PhD, the current Secretary General of Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproductive (ASPIRE) and an IVF trailblazer who made history in 1985 with the first IVF infant in Taiwan. He obtained a master of public health degree in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard University in 1981 and completed his fellowship training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in 1983 and has been the recipient of multiple awards within the region and globally. Our medical team, composed of senior physicians, nurses, and embryologists, has extensive clinical experience in assisted reproductive technology (ART).
In the year since its grand opening, TFC has partnered with noted global institutions including Taipei Medical University, Harvard University, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology companies for research and development.
TFC is proudly shaped by the values of integrity, humanism, globalization, and distinguished academic impacts. Aiming to provide unparalleled service in ART, TFC has dedicated itself to creating a patient-centered design to deliver care for all.
We understand that Taiwan has a low fertility (birth) rate compared to other countries. How is TFC supporting their patients to achieve their goals to have a family?
As a healthcare provider specializing in infertility care, TFC is devoted to raising public awareness and being at the forefront of providing accurate information about reproductive medicine. Driven by advocacy from Dr. Tzeng, the TFC team called for the expansion of Taiwan’s infertility treatment subsidy with the Ministry of Health and Welfare. With the goal of improving Taiwan’s falling birth rate, the expansion of infertility treatment subsidy for married, different-sex Taiwanese couples was approved in July 2021. So far, it has been an effective program for many aspiring parents who faced challenges from infertility. In just six months, 20,592 couples have applied and been granted a subsidy to receive some IVF coverage, and the number continues to grow. Among these couples applying for IVF subsidies, it’s been reported that over 1,000 couples are from TFC. While 41% of them are above 40-year-old, the pregnancy rate in TFC is approximately 58%.
Can you tell us more about TFC's approach to ART and the patient experience?
We provide a comprehensive treatment plan in a holistic way for our patients including services such as psychological counseling, nutrition counseling, reproductive check-ups and preventive vaccination, telemedicine programs, and assisting overseas patients to apply for entry visas. TFC expects to help couples accomplish their goals and welcome the next brand new chapter in their lives.
Experts at TFC provide a full spectrum of infertility diagnosis, sperm and egg freezing, sperm and egg donation, intra-insemination (IUI) and IVF treatment, preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis, and other gynecological services. TFC is equipped with the highest standard cryobanks, an in-house IVF laboratory, and a state-of-the-art facility — Time Lapse incubators — which are unique in the region.
Are there trends that you are seeing in Taiwan or with international patients in regards to assisted reproductive technology treatments?
Local patients in Taiwan
According to The Assisted Reproductive Technology Summary 2019 National Report of Taiwan, ART treatment cycles show a steady upward trend for the past five years. In July 2021, the government in Taiwan implemented a subsidy plan for ART with the goal of encouraging more local married couples to undergo ART treatments. The subsidies are also available to transnational couples in which one spouse holds a Taiwanese ID card.
As for international patients coming to Taiwan, statistics show an upward trend of overseas patients seeking ART treatment in Taiwan from 2016 to 2019. The case number drops drastically from 2019 to 2020 due to the strict border control during that time frame.
Recently, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced that foreign patients seeking reproductive care in Taiwan can enter starting from March 1, 2022.
International patients coming to Taiwan
Do you have any predictions for the future of ART in Taiwan?
Since the launch of the government subsidy in July 2021, it’s predicted that patients undergoing ART treatments will grow in the next few years. It’s estimated that the total number of newborns in Taiwan will increase 8,000 – 12,000 in 2022 compared to last year. As for the number of international patients undergoing ART treatment in Taiwan, it’s expected for this to grow again after the opening of the borders in March for international patients seeking fertility treatments in Taiwan.
If you’re a Carrot member, log into your account to search for fertility and family-forming services near you, including Taipei Fertility Center. Carrot partners offer exclusive benefits like priority booking and lower negotiated rates.
If you’re a fertility care or family-forming service provider interested in supporting Carrot members or want to learn more about working with Carrot, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.